For years, Peggy Noonan has been a well-respected political writer.
In her heyday, her purpose was best fulfilled when it was assumed that politicians weren’t bought and paid for by the donor class and that they actually sought to serve the people who elected them. Alas, her heyday is gone.
Historically, Noonan’s analysis of the people was generally never too far off the mark. Yet, her years of opinion writing can be divided into two eras. The first being the one that gave the people a minimum voice. The party oligarchs on both sides called the shots, anointed the ones they wanted, and we were stuck picking between two of them. The second manifested when the people took control of their country, organized on social media, and took steps to start challenging those who lined pockets of those in the political establishment.
That aforementioned second era was inspired in part and nurtured over the years by Governor Sarah Palin. Others were a massive help as well – folks like Stephen Bannon and the late Andrew Breitbart, two men who admired Governor Palin as passionately as most of us do.
This is why Peggy Noonan’s latest piece where she compares Donald Trump to Governor Palin reveals so much.
How can someone write like they understand a people’s movement in one breath only to warn the president against following in the footsteps of a pioneer like Palin who cultivated the path? Yes, Governor Palin is to credit. Even though he meant it unkindly, Former President Obama was even wise enough to note where Trumps’ rise began. Of course, Obama went on to say that the GOP needed to engage in some "self-reflection" to decide where it was going. Considering Noonan’s description of Palin now in 2017, we must let it sink in for a moment: she obviously agrees with Barack Obama.
Noonan begins her recollections on Palin by overstating the importance of needing the "Republican Party" behind you:
At her height, in 2008, she [Palin] had almost the entire Republican Party behind her, and was pushed forward most forcefully by those who went on to lead Never Trump.
That’s a simple statement for Noonan. She has to know it. Clearly it discounts some pretty major fundamentals.
Starting with the 2008 election pre-Palin, McCain’s campaign was a snooze fest. Additionally, his record leading up to it had many of us skeptical. Some conservatives were suspicious of McCain when he crafted things like McCain-Feingold as well as a disastrous shot at amnesty with Teddy Kennedy in 2005. George W. Bush (R) had just added $4 Trillion to our debt with massive entitlement programs and stimulus that, as Stephen Bannon accurately pointed out recently, put us on a fast track to what is now known as "the rise of China."
When Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin came onto the scene, the Republican Party was thrilled when she woke up the base. It wasn’t just her charisma or appeal. She came with a record of reform. We all remember Newt Gingrich at the 2008 GOP Convention in Minnesota when he schooled a reporter about Palin’s record in Alaska when she took on her own party’s shenanigans.
The same members of the frustrated elite class today (including writers like Noonan) were thrilled to reap the benefits of the energy Palin blessed the party with but hoped she’d merely play along like a dead fish. Of course, she didn’t obey. When it became apparent that she was consistent to her strong record of reform and would hold the national party to the same standard, the blue-bloods delivered their verdict: Barbara Bush: Palin should stay in Alaska.
As if Palin could care. Being an unconventional bad-ass, her passion for reform, respect for the sanctity of life, and connection to the people who make our nation great are what motivate her. Warm praise from the likes of Peggy Noonan never could. And unlike those elites and blue-bloods, Palin has the luxury of being able to sleep at night.
Flash forward a few years: when Palin was a major player in 2012’s national election as a potential candidate, she had already shaken up the D.C. establishment by getting unconventional candidates into Congress in 2010. The party was confused. IF she ran, how could they sabotage her without looking bitter? If she didn’t run, would she back the establishment’s guy, Mitt Romney? Most candidates openly sought her endorsement while campaign consultants scoffed at the idea.
This brief history proves why Noonan’s latest article is comical. Palin and the people she inspired made the difference while Noonan opted for cocktail parties and air conditioning. A little fresh air could have done her well. The poor thing uses terms like "strangeness" today to describe Palin’s unconventional style, going on to warn Trump against following the same path.
When did Donald Trump ever have "the entire Republican Party" behind him? From the moment he announced his candidacy, they knew what was coming. Because of Palin, they already had an idea of what it would be like to have a candidate supported by the people instead of the D.C. oligarchs. They weren’t looking forward to it at all. That’s why they unsuccessfully attacked and why Palin became the largest figure to openly endorse Trump very early in the primary. No, he was not seeking the good opinion of Peggy Noonan, however.
Noonan of course tried being a good sport in 2016. An article she wrote at least displayed a willingness to "get it":
I had such a conversation again Tuesday with a friend who repairs shoes in a shop on Lexington Avenue. Jimmy asked me, conversationally, what was going to happen. I deflected and asked who he thinks is going to win. “Troomp!” He’s a very nice man, an elderly, old-school Italian-American, but I saw impatience flick across his face: Aren’t you supposed to know these things?
In America now only normal people are capable of seeing the obvious.
But actually that’s been true for a while, and is how we got in the position we’re in.
However, Noonan’s choice to write another anti-Palin screed while trying to relate to President Trump or the people is revealing of her type.
A whole year has passed and sadly, she remains as clueless as she admitted to being in 2016.